State

2019-20 Budget without head or tail: NPCC

DIMAPUR, JUL 6 (NPN) | Publish Date: 7/6/2019 11:49:23 AM IST

Slamming the union as an “extortionist” and “figureless” budget without “head or tails” , Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) president K. Therie , quoting former finance minister P.Chidambaram who asked , whether there had ever been a budget speech where there was no disclosure about total revenue, total expenditure, fiscal deficit, revenue deficit, additional revenue mobilisation or financial concessions?.”

He also said the budget did not disclose allocations for important programmes such as MGNREGA, Mid Day Meal scheme, health, scheduled caste and scheduled tribe, women welfare programmes, minorities etc. Instead, Therie said the budget raised taxes on petrol and diesel which will add to the burden on the citizens as it would lead to rise in cost of essential commodities due to rise in transport charges. 

Therie also likened the ambitious goal of a “$5 trillion economy by 2025” which he said was another ‘Rs.15 lakh promise’(made in 2014). Therie said expecting a $5trillion economy from private investments without a roadmap to attract investment was blunt 

He accused the Modi government of having tricked the poorest of the poor to open bank accounts but when the minimum balance could not be maintained, defaulters were penalized with more fines. 

Therie wondered who would invest in India under the present environment when over 7,000 billionaires of Indian origin alone had fled India in 2017. He said some of those who fled were under trial while private sectors like Kingfisher and Jet-airways have closed down. On the other hand, he said over 3 lakh small and medium industries have closed down while unemployment was highest in 45 years. 

He said the budget offered nothing new except assurances to expand the current schemes while states would face tough times ahead. Therie also noted that Central share of taxes for States appears have been reduced to 23%, if the figure projected by The Times of India was correct. 

He pointed out that the 14th Finance Commission had increased States’ share in the Union Taxes revenue by 10% thereby giving a record 42%. He said Nagaland appears to be in deep financial crisis while funds have not percolated down to the districts. In view of this, Therie wondered how the state legislators had passed the 2019-20 Budget? 

He said it was for the first time in Nagaland that the budget was reduced to Rs. 18,301 crores from the earlier Rs. Rs. 18,303.

Normally budget showed a step up of 15-25% and it should have reflected in a figure between Rs. 21,048 to 22,000 crores in view of increase in payment of salaries, increments, pensions, allowances, price escalation as per market and additional plan activities. 

He said even if the state’s plan activities were put to hold, increment, allowances and price escalation cannot be avoided. 

 Therie opined that the impact on general life was going to be tough since the ruling government would not even let a few drops percolate down and lamented that there was no one to cast the first stone nor point a finger.

He said most citizens of the state were self dependent and involved with agriculture activities, with few or no landless fellow citizens.

 He said by God’s grace, people have been able get two square meals daily and for this reason “we are not serious about state budget.” He lamented that many still think the state budget or state exchequer belongs to the government and not to the public.

With cuts or percentage deductions in project costs considered normal, Therie said that whoever could cut more are appreciated as capable leaders. 

However, he said the masses were yet to understand the State Exchequer consists of public tax. “The masses do not know we are paying tax on every item we buy from the market. The masses are yet to understand Government is by the people, for the people, of the people,” he stated.

 

-Tags:#NPCC

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